WE MADE IT! Nolan and I have, by hook or by crook, somehow completed two months of this whole working baby thing together. For those of you who have been following along on Instagram, we both thank you for the support, encouragement, and for the never-ending supply of “LMAOs” when he poops on camera.
And now, we share with you our list of five things we’ve learned so far taking on work life together as a mother-son team:
Sherp & burp.
Bags. So many bags. The sheer number of items I have to schlep to and from work is gypsy-level high. As my husband says, the logistics required in baby-raising are akin to operating a small municipal airport. Mornings are no longer for showering and eating a leisurely breakfast over coffee – they have now become swirly packing bonanzas. I’ve got my diaper bag and all of its very important contents, the car seat, my lunch, my computer bag, the stroller, the carriers, sometimes my pump, bottles, a cooler… the list goes on and on (and on and on and on). Packing smart for work with a baby could (and will) be a blog post in and of itself. On the plus side, I’m getting Beyoncé arms. Okay baggies, now let’s get in formation.
The office as an audience.
On days when Nolan is in his best baby form, giggly and jiggly and agreeable, I feel like I’m in possession of a super cute fairy that rains positivity and joy down upon the land. On days when he is, well, more of the troll variety, it’s amazing how quickly and severely my outlook can plummet. Of course, everyone at the office claims that his incessant, gas-induced screams don’t bother them, but they pierce MY brain like a screwdriver – diamond-tipped and dipped in lighter fluid. And the LAST thing I want is to be a distraction to my coworkers.
The good thing? My team will step in (nay, leap in) to help at a moment’s notice. Everyone wants to help make a baby feel better. Which leads me to my next realization:
Babies encourage empathy.
Let me put it this way: it’s reaaaallllly difficult to be an asshole when there’s a baby in the room. Their adorable cheeks and ridiculous squeals seem to bring out the best in all of us — even those who don’t consider themselves tiny human connoisseurs. When Nolan is present for meetings, or even when he’s just doing his thing, talkin’ and kickin’ around on my desk, I swear, the mood is lighter. It’s no wonder that babies are now being used to teach empathy in schools. We could ALL use more of that.
Laser vs. brush fire.
As an employee pre-mommyhood, I worked hard. I worked smart. I had eight good hours in the office (and often, more at home) to do so. Now, it ain’t that way. With baby blowouts, boredom, and breastfeeding as part of my daily task load, I have to be way savvier when it comes to time management I can still get work done, but time doesn’t look at all like it used to. I’m often responding to Slack and Asana and email from my phone. I can’t take as many notes during meetings because I’m bouncing and swaying around a room trying to ensure he stays locked into his naps. Heck, I wrote this blog post one handed while nursing. I’m learning the fine art of Motherly Multitasking, and I think it will only serve me in my career.
It’s easier than you think.
Last, but not least. With trust in your team, clear expectations, and a healthy dose of flexibility, I am confident that 80% of workplaces could and should learn to accommodate babies at work. The benefits far outweigh the challenges – and I can say that. I’m in the thick of it!
Want to know more?
Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org